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The Dead Sea Scrolls and Information Paranoia

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the can't-wait-to-scroll-through-them dept.

Google 585

jfruhlinger writes "Today Google and the Israel Museum have made the famed Dead Sea Scrolls available for online viewing. This is a great step forward for scholars and those curious about the oldest known copies of many biblical texts. But why has it taken nearly 50 years for the contents of this material to be made fully public? Blogger Kevin Fogarty thinks the saga of the scrolls since their discovery — along with the history of religious texts in general — is a good example of how people seek to gain power by hoarding information. In that regard, it holds some important lessons for the many modern debates about information security and control."

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The Google conspiracy (3, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#37521858)

Obviously to track and identify those with an interest in this material so they can sell that information, complete with maps and street view, to ancient aliens intent on probing and implanting their mind control chips. Don't be evil! What a joke.

Re:The Google conspiracy (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37521880)

Or hey why didnt they scan them 50 years ago and let everyone see it online.

oh wait...

Re:The Google conspiracy (1, Funny)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522036)

That reminds me of my son who was in high school when I demonstrated how to use a slide rule and explained how engineers all had them. He asked me why they didn't just use a calculator. LOL

Re:The Google conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522534)

I have one. A relative was going after her license to teach and student taught mathematics for advanced students (among other subjects). The were working on finding different roots on paper using the rooting algorithm. She came home the first day and said to me "I didn't know you could do roots on paper." I replied, "How do you think they did it before calculators? Heck, how do you think calculators do it?" "I thought they just guessed and checked repeatedly until it was close enough."

Re:The Google conspiracy (5, Funny)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522568)

And that guy grew up to be the programmer who write the time estimation code for Windows' copy function.

Re:The Google conspiracy (1)

gislifb (1979154) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522584)

Oh that is golden!

Re:The Google conspiracy (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522316)

What.. they didnt have cameras back then or books in which to print them?

What is this crazy mishegas?!?!

Re:The Google conspiracy (-1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522340)

You do realize that 50 years ago, there wasn't even an 'online', and as to scanners, I'm not sure if they existed, but you can bet a pack of religious scholars couldn't get their hands on them if they did exist.

Re:The Google conspiracy (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522454)

Err, microfilm tech was likel around at that point, and these things were so famous that folks would have been queuing up to pay for the effort to scan and disseminate them. Other methods would have been around.

Or in your head did nobody copy documents before about 1990?

Either way, 2011 is pretty overdue on this.

Re:The Google conspiracy (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522320)

to ancient aliens intent on probing and implanting their mind control chips

Funny place to put a mind control chip...

Re:The Google conspiracy (3, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522386)

Exactly the right place for UFO nutters.

Re:The Google conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522582)

Or at least in men it's pretty close to the center of thought.

Re:The Google conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522404)

Maybe, but who'd ever think to look there!

Re:The Google conspiracy (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522656)

to ancient aliens intent on probing and implanting their mind control chips

Funny place to put a mind control chip...

Really? Why is it when you're looking for something and you give up, that the moment you sit down to tackle another task, you remember where the item was?

if you need a shoehorn (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#37521860)

to make the articles fit, please save yourself the effort

Why has it taken 50 years? (1, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#37521886)

Because releasing damaging information about current religious denominations is dangerous not only to the releasers but also to the psyche of their followers. Many preconceptions and interpretations about the original biblical text will have to be changed.

Same problem with proof of aliens and disproving gods. If you can prove we weren't the "chosen ones" or you can ultimately prove what actually created the universe and create life from nothing in a scientific way, a LOT of religious people will be disappointed.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (2)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37521916)

Actually, that took 5 years, and the negotiations with Bethesda, 45.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (4, Insightful)

jdpars (1480913) | more than 3 years ago | (#37521980)

How, exactly, would you "ultimately prove" anything about life? I'm a very religious person, and I love science, but I also know that humility is the biggest key to seeking understanding about the world. Not every religious person is anti-science. Many of us fully embrace both.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (3)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522018)

You don't, you take it on faith and track record. Which is vastly superior to faith and no track record.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522114)

Jesus owned a dinosaur, and God bless the neutrinos?

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (1, Interesting)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522164)

How, exactly, would you "ultimately prove" anything about life? I'm a very religious person, and I love science, but I also know that humility is the biggest key to seeking understanding about the world. Not every religious person is anti-science. Many of us fully embrace both.

After recent (last three years) conversion to atheism, I don't think that you can. One of the final nails in the coffin is when you realize (or are told) that you can apply scientific methods to religious questions, and hence that nothing is sacred. Once you've done that, then *poof* - it's very quickly gone. Religion relies on some things being believed to be true rather than demonstrably true. I know - I've been there. And it must be demonstrably true to be scientific. If you have demonstrable truth of religious proofs, then please tell the rest of us.

I think religious people can be scientific, but scientific people cannot be religious. Doubting Thomas was right to doubt

Totally agree with your comment on humility though. Very true.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (1, Insightful)

fj3k (993224) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522246)

... And it must be demonstrably true to be scientific. ...

It must be demonstrably true to be considered true; but it also must be demonstrably false to be considered false. Perhaps there are people who have found what they consider demonstration of its veracity? Even if you doubt that, you cannot call it false until you have demonstrated it to be false.

Ah, my only gripe really is that atheism is neither the obvious solution, nor a scientific one. It's just another (minimised) system of faith.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (2)

agm (467017) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522442)

Ah, my only gripe really is that atheism is neither the obvious solution, nor a scientific one. It's just another (minimised) system of faith.

Atheism is a lack of belief, not a belief of lack. In that regards it is not a faith at all.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (1, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522498)

I see this argument often, but it is a nonsequitor to me:

The assertion, without demonstration thereof, of the falsehood of claims of divinity is every bit an assertion of faith as is the assertion that such claims of divinity are true, due to the lack of empirical evidence in both positions.

Without such evidence, the opinion becomes one of faith; faith in the assertion itself.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (4, Informative)

agm (467017) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522564)

The assertion, without demonstration thereof, of the falsehood of claims of divinity is every bit an assertion of faith as is the assertion that such claims of divinity are true, due to the lack of empirical evidence in both positions.

Without such evidence, the opinion becomes one of faith; faith in the assertion itself.

The athiest doesn't assert that claims of divinity are false. The athiest asserts that they do not believe such claims are true. A subtle but important difference. There is a difference between have a belief in a lack, and having a lack of belief. You seem to be referring to what some call the "strong atheist" - someone that does actively claim that there are no gods. Not all atheists hold that position though. If you don't believe in any gods, then you are an atheist. That's not a statement of faith, it's a statement of lacking a particular kind of belief.

I don't need evidence to say "I don't think there are ants on the moon". I do need evidence if I were to say "There are no ants on the moon". Both are two subtly different positions. The former is not one of faith, the latter is.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (2)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522706)

Sounds to me like you're describing an agnostic. To me, "atheist" is no different than "strong atheist".

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522608)

Preponderance of evidence my dear boy. Over the ages we have been able to explain more and more of nature. The logical view is that this trend will continue. Just because logic leads me to believe that everything is explainable, doesn't mean it has become a religion to me. I will gladly reconsider the facts when religion gives some demonstrable facts. Until then I have a demonstratable lack of faith in religion. Which makes me an atheist.

Weird thought: If it were a religion we would capitalize atheism wouldn't we?

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522266)

Religion relies on some things being believed to be true rather than demonstrably true.

Unless you've witnessed it first-hand of course:

http://johncwright.livejournal.com/422830.html

Of course then it's technically not "believing" but "knowing".

I think religious people can be scientific, but scientific people cannot be religious. Doubting Thomas was right to doubt

Tell that to the following people:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lemaître
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Consolmagno
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Roman_Catholic_cleric–scientists

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (1)

fossa (212602) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522526)

"even if you appeared before me in the flesh, I would call it an hallucination"

And yet, the author does just the opposite of what he claimed he would do... I agree with the pre-heart-attack author. Can he ever be sure he isn't insane? Can I ever be sure I am not insane?

"Being a philosopher and not a poseur, I put the matter to an empirical test."

A truly awful test that could only ever gather anecdotal evidence. You earn a "D-" in science.

Maybe I missed it, but did his vision lead him to Roman Catholicism? Greek Orthodox? Anglicanism? Russian Orthodox? Episcopalian? Lutheran? Mormonism? Jehova's Witnesses?

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522676)

Good points, especially on why pick one specific faith of hundreds of fairly mainstream ones?

Also, heart attacks can often cause brain damage.
http://www.bri.ucla.edu/bri_weekly/news_050822.asp [ucla.edu]

Coudl the three days of regular life be the true answer? Even if one believed in a higher power and related subdeities, could not then some devil be messing with him?

Also, vitamin D deficiency and vegetable deficiency disease cause most heart attacks, so it may indeed have been a coincidence related to poor diet, or even the wrath of the "sun god":
http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/PCI_angioplasty_article.aspx [drfuhrman.com]
http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/news-archive/2008/vitamin-d-in-pediatrics/ [vitamindcouncil.org]

Still, to be fair, and a truly skeptical skeptic, he might indeed be right. And even if his brain was altered, maybe it was improved? But personally, I don't buy it for the reasons you list.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (3, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522270)

One of the final nails in the coffin is when you realize (or are told) that you can apply scientific methods to religious questions, and hence that nothing is sacred.

This statement is a direct result of the loss of true scientific method today. When science becomes essentially nothing but religion, people start trying to apply it to religion itself. No, you cannot apply true science to religions questions. There are no experiments you can perform in that venue.

(Not all science, but several of the major public scientific "debates" are nothing more than religion -- faith in things unseen. "Nobody saw the universe created, but we know that it happened via...". )

I think religious people can be scientific, but scientific people cannot be religious. Doubting Thomas was right to doubt.

People who understand the difference between the concepts of science and religion can easily do both. Gregor Mendel was, IIRC, a monk. Religious man doing good science. It's harder finding opposite examples because some scientists have the same belief that you do -- that they can apply science to religious questions. When they fail they deny religion altogether (because it isn't SCIENCE!) and ridicule those of their fellows who can differentiate science from faith.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (3, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522374)

scientific people cannot be religious

Why not?

Science has debunked many of the screwier claims and dogmas of many religions, such as the idea that the Earth is only 10000 years old. That's the kind of testable, falsifiable assertion that science rests on. Scientists have even explored such questions as why humans are religious. But as to the supernatural, that is unprovable. How do we know that an omnipotent being didn't just magically create the Earth any old time, complete with all sorts of evidence that suggests a different age? We don't. It's not a testable hypothesis.

Then there's the old "what's the meaning of life?" and "why are we here?" sorts of questions. Does life have a meaning, and if it does, what is it? What's the point of the universe? One popular idea suggests it's all a contest between good and evil, with God and Satan competing for our souls, and the contest to be ultimately decided when Armageddon happens. It could be true. The trouble with any explanation of an issue like that is it merely begs the question. Why is there a contest at all? What's the point? Another popular one is the notion that we just don't know, and can't know. Whichever idea appeals, we are free to speculate, free to create a religion and have faith in whatever we want. Science does not answer such questions.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (4, Interesting)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522550)

Epicurus put it this way:

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
. Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
. Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
. Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
. Then why call him God?"

--Epicurus (341 - 270 BCE)

I think I like how Epicurus asked his question.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (1)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522554)

How do we know that an omnipotent being didn't just magically create the Earth any old time, complete with all sorts of evidence that suggests a different age? We don't. It's not a testable hypothesis.

Without proof positive, the scientific method demands the null hypothesis: that no omnipotent being exists. Easy peasy.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (1, Insightful)

ZankerH (1401751) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522200)

Not every religious person is anti-science. Many of us fully embrace both.

So how do you reconcile the contradiction between looking for the truth about things your holy book doesn't say anything about scientifically, and abandoning the scientific method when dealing with matters it does discuss?

This is what really worries me about "religious scientists" - it's like they don't even fully grasp the reason why we have the scientific method. It is, simply put, the best way ever devised to reach understanding about how the world works. Why would you abandon it selectively to believe stuff with zero observational, experimental or inferential evidence? Is the experimental method just another ritual to you, to be applied when you see fit and disregarded likewise? I seriously don't understand how a scientist can be religious.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522406)

Because religion has things to say about the fuzzier aspects of life - ethics, beauty, community, wonder, and love, to name a few examples - that science doesn't have much relevance to.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522572)

When you are an adult you'll stop looking at the world in black and white and have a better appreciation for science and religion. The two fit together nicely.

Take note that American and British history is filled with mathematicians, scientists, physicists, chemists, and inventors who were very successful AND very religious. More than a few wrote as much scientific papers as they did religious ones.

Just because you don't understand how the two can go together doesn't mean nobody else can.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522248)

You're not a Scientist or love Science. You're just a delusional retard.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522280)

Good book about the subject: The God Delusion [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (2)

Redlazer (786403) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522424)

"Many of us fully embrace both."

That seems impossible to truly do. They are mutually exclusive - to accept one requires a sacrifice in understanding or acceptance in the other.

I understand that some people are willing to do that; I however, am not.

Also, what Obarthelemy said.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522486)

I'm a very religious person, and I love science

Something tells me you only properly understand, at most, one of those two things.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522522)

A religious person by definition does not like science. Claim all the fucking bullshit you want, but the fact of the matter is that faith itself is the opposite of science.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (1)

WhatAreYouDoingHere (2458602) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522032)

If you can prove we weren't the "chosen ones" or you can ultimately prove what actually created the universe and create life from nothing in a scientific way, a LOT of religious people will be disappointed.

Actually, I doubt too many religious people will be very disappointed, as their religious beliefs likely transcend their science beliefs. The "proof" would likely be rejected at first, but eventually creep into some religions, maybe even try to live alongside with it. There are, I hear, religious people who do actually believe the evolution theory, and try to fit it in with creation, somehow or other.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522068)

> Same problem with proof of aliens and disproving gods. If you can prove we weren't the "chosen ones" or you can ultimately prove what actually created the universe and create life from nothing in a scientific way, a LOT of religious people will be disappointed.

It's only a "problem" for fundamentalists -- people who's thinking has become so fossilized and institutionalized that the mere fact that aliens look completely human would give them a total and mental breakdown. (Kids today though would have very little mental problems accepting this.) Everyone else will enjoy the opportunity to ask another civilization what beliefs they have, what knowledge they have found, etc.

Thank God by at by 2030-2050 we'll be over our stupid hangups of xenophobia and we can move onto more important issues - namely how to have 8 billion people get along and move away from the "have nots", and "haves" that civilization is based upon.

--
Religion answers "Why", Science answers "How"

Religion answers NOTHING (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522680)

Religion is not the answer to anything. In fact it is base on the "believe what I tell you or you are going to hell" rule.

Sorry, but the fact is religion is not an answer. It is just the OLDEST lie created for the control of the masses by way of ignorance and fear.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (4, Insightful)

Bradmont (513167) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522154)

Could you illumine us as to just what that damaging information is? Probably the most surprising thing in the dead sea scrolls is how closely they agree with the much later manuscripts we had when they were found -- the Isaiah scroll for example. Yes, there are transcription errors resulting from repeated copying, but they pretty much boil down to spelling mistakes/changes...

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522460)

Because some of the stuff in the scrolls aren't in the "real" religious texts.

I think a lot of people have the perception that the bible, torah, etc. as we have it is the perfect, immutable word of God. It's not. Every one of the three Abrahamic religious texts went through some sort of revision and compilation process, and there are things such as "unofficial" or "lost" gospels. The Dead Sea Scrolls partially contain some of these.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (2)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522652)

Yep. I have (somewhere) in my library the gospels of Peter, Thomas and Mary. (No, not Paul - definitely Thomas). These were 'excised' from the canonical bible over the last two thousand years or so. Were this the middle ages I'd be posting as an AC to avoid being burnt at the stake.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (1, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522188)

From your statement it's clear that you don't have a clue what the dead sea scrolls are, or how/why the bible was canonized (or even what that term means.)

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522318)

I seriously doubt that. To be deeply religious one must reject a lot of conventional wisdom, and there isn't enough proof of anything that they can sweep under the mental rug. Some of them would sweep gravity under the rug if it would warp their beloved little worldview.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522400)

Because releasing damaging information about current religious denominations is dangerous not only to the releasers but also to the psyche of their followers. Many preconceptions and interpretations about the original biblical text will have to be changed.

Same problem with proof of aliens and disproving gods. If you can prove we weren't the "chosen ones" or you can ultimately prove what actually created the universe and create life from nothing in a scientific way, a LOT of religious people will be disappointed.

Oh, come on, people are way past that.
The ones who aren't can't read well enough that even translations would get them excited.
It took 400 years for Copernicus's revelation to sink in, but sunk in it has.

Neither the Church nor the state is going to become unhinged if/when the content of the scrolls became known.
Anything important would have leaked out. But, contrary to those who delight in attributing monumental
secrets to ancient knowledge, there was nothing of earth shattering significance that wasn't already preserved
elsewhere.

This was largely a technical issue (the web is new) with a bit of turf strutting thrown in.
Over six hundred scrolls and thousands of fragments have been discovered in the 11 caves of the Qumran area, above
and beyond the 11 original scrolls. Its a huge job with fragile documents in a language dialect not widely studied.
Still, If you had the credentials to weigh in on this field of study you could always wrangle an invitation.

Its not necessary to don the tin foil hat just yet.

Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (4, Interesting)

Morty (32057) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522576)

Because releasing damaging information about current religious denominations is dangerous not only to the releasers but also to the psyche of their followers.

Israeli Jewish culture is mostly secular -- about 80% of Israeli Jews. There is a lot of conflict between the secularists and the 20% or so of the religious minority. The academics are usually from the secular side. If the concern were about upsetting religious folks, the secularist majority would not have had a problem with releasing the material.

A lot of folks think that the delay for currently unpublished scrolls is academics wanting to be the first to be able to publish papers based on the material. I'm in this camp. Greed makes a lot more sense to me than a vast conspiracy.

FSM texts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37521888)

Call me when they release the Flying Spaghetti Monster texts. Those, I might be interested in.

So Seele finally released them huh? (1)

bgibby9 (614547) | more than 3 years ago | (#37521940)

Nice!

Where's Jesus? (4, Interesting)

TrumpetPower! (190615) | more than 3 years ago | (#37521962)

It's worth noting that the Scrolls are the original pieces of paper, penned by Jews living in Jerusalem before, during, and after the time that Jesus is said to have done all those amazing things.

Yet you won't find even a hint of an oblique reference to anything that could possibly be mistraken for Jesus or the events of the Gospels.

Nor will you find anything in the collected works of Philo. Philo was the brother-in-law of King Herod Agrippa, who was king during Jesus's alleged ministry. Philo was the Jewish philosopher who first integrated the Hellenistic Logos into Judaism -- that would be the "Word" of John 1:1. He was a prolific author who mentioned a great many of his contemporaries. His last work was his first-hand account of his participation in an embassy to Rome to petition Caligula about the mistreatment of Jews at the hands of the Romans; this was in the mid 40s, well after the latest possible date for the Crucifixion.

Also silent are all other contemporaries, including Pliny the Elder (who was fascinated with all things supernatural) and the Roman Satirists (whose stock in trade was the humiliation Jesus was said to have heaped upon the Roman and Jewish authorities in Jerusalem).

Indeed, the oldest record of Jesus comes from the author of the Pauline epistles, writing decades after the "fact," and who made a point to record that all his experiences of Jesus were spiritual and that he never saw Jesus in the flesh. Those responsible for the Crucifixion were "the Princes of that age." And that's the closest record we have of Jesus.

Cheers,

b&

Re:Where's Jesus? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37521992)

Sweet Jews for Jesus!

Hold it! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522008)

Now, I don't have a degree in this stuff, but I've read enough of Paul that it doesn't look like he was arguing only for a spiritual Jesus. He surely knew the Twelve (well, Eleven). I thought the idea that Paul only believed in a spiritual Jesus because he never met the man in person was debunked. Do I believe there was a lot of myth-making around Yeshua bar Yousef? Yes. Progressively-increasing myth-making? Absolutely, see for example the fact that originally Mark ended at 16:9. But don't throw the baby Jesus out with the bathwater.

Re:Hold it! (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522028)

wouldn't he part the bathwater anyway ?

Re:Hold it! (1)

agm (467017) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522072)

He would have turned it into bathwine.

Re:Hold it! (2)

dugjohnson (920519) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522074)

That would be Moses. The baby Jesus would walk on it.

Re:Where's Jesus? (1)

WhatAreYouDoingHere (2458602) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522052)

the author of the Pauline epistles

Wouldn't that be Paul? :)

Re:Where's Jesus? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522084)

Surprisingly, No. There were MANY people who wrote under that pen-name. Some who got it, some who didn't.

Re:Where's Jesus? (2)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522276)

So an early Anonymous Coward then?

Re:Where's Jesus? (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522660)

Bravo.

Re:Where's Jesus? (4, Insightful)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522086)

It's worth noting that the Scrolls are the original pieces of paper, penned by Jews living in Jerusalem before, during, and after the time that Jesus is said to have done all those amazing things.

Yet you won't find even a hint of an oblique reference to anything that could possibly be mistraken for Jesus or the events of the Gospels.

It is kind of obvious, isn't it? I mean, these scrolls were written by Jews who were not converted to Christianity. For the majority of the Jews who were not converted, if Jesus existed he was nothing but a false prophet, certainly not worth mentioning.

Now, about Philo of Alexandria or Pliny the Elder, you certainly have a point. If Jesus was such a big event, he should have gotten at least some mentions. While I don't believe that any deity has been messing with puny humans during any part of history, Jesus might as well have existed as a historical person, but from the lack of contemporary information it would seem to me his appearance was at best a minor event and everything was accomplished by the hype of his followers decades later.

Re:Where's Jesus? (2)

defaria (741527) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522198)

Ah excuse me. But regardless if he was a false prophet or not, come back from the dead and turning water into wine you'd think'd get at least and honorable mention.

All that's obvious is that this stupid story is a load of crap!

Re:Where's Jesus? (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522408)

He kept both fairly secret himself though: The former he only showed to a select few, and the latter was only witnessed by a couple of people. Some of his other miracles had wider direct impact, but none of them were much of anything that couldn't be discounted as wildly exaggerated retellings. To a non-believer, there was no reason to place him above any other of the many prophets claiming miracles at the time.

Re:Where's Jesus? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522524)

I find it funny how both extream atheists and religious fundamentals are so fixated on the mericals but not the bulk of the text.
For the most part the observers of the mericals wanted to see a merical when something happened that was improbable was taken as a mericle then exaggerated until it got to text.

But that is the sales pitch, the catch is the bulk of the bibal is its story and it's parables that actually teach a lesson. Many we still need to relearn today.

For a more modern example let's use Abe Lincon. He wasn't a stellar president but he was president during the civil war and his side won, after many mistakes on his part. He openly defied the supream court, and did many thing that was horrible. But to most Americans and the world he has became a symbol of all that is good and decent. That was just 150 years ago. What will happen in 2000 years?

Re:Where's Jesus? (1)

abundance (888783) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522342)

I think in the end the issue isn't even about the provability of the existence of a man called Jesus.

The point is that close proximity to philologically correct and unabridged versions of the scriptures just reveals the immanence of both their verb and interpretation thru the history.

Just about every religion has a canon of text that's a collation of various folklore sources, and an evolving history of various esoteric (inner circles, sects) and exoteric (vulgatae, superstitions) interpretations and symbolisms.

The issue between believers and non-believers, or among believers of various traditions, is not about the existence of the divine or the merits of its pursue. It is about the realization, which can come only by looking at our history, that religious morals are just as immanent as non religious ones.

Re:Where's Jesus? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522112)

You seem to be ignoring the "Original Gospel of the Hebrews" which was never given to the gentiles; it was the original Gospel of Matthew before some unknown heathen called "Mark" hijacked the name with his version.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_the_Hebrews [wikipedia.org]

Re:Where's Jesus? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522392)

I love how the one category of ideas most "skeptical" people aren't skeptical of is fringe theories about the bible and Christianity. The criterion for acceptance swerves away from whatever seems most well-evidenced and reasonable to whatever seems most outlandish and damaging to the Christian religion.

Jesus didn't exist? I mean, sure, practically every working (i.e. publishing in peer reviewed journals, giving papers at reputable conferences, and the like) historian in this area, Christian or otherwise, believes that he did, but I saw a pretty convincing youtube video about it, so I guess not. It's a conspiracy, man! You say there's a Gospel of Hebrews that "scholarship generally holds [to be] probably composed in Egypt in the 2nd century" (from the wikipedia article you linked).. well.. that's probably the original Gospel of Matthew because we have it second hand from someone who lived a few hundred years after the fact that a few of his contemporaries thought so. That's good enough for me!

Re:Where's Jesus? (0)

Empiric (675968) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522132)

Regarding your assertion of appropriate expectation of references to Jesus given the timeframe of the Dead Sea Scrolls, could you provide your relative qualifications on the matter relative to this organization? [huji.ac.il]

Such as, say, the number of international symposia on the subject of the Scrolls you have hosted?

TIA.

Re:Where's Jesus? (5, Informative)

Mr.Bananas (851193) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522138)

The reason for this is quite simple... Jesus was just another of the many prophets who existed in this era of Israel, an era of great political uncertainty in which the Judean countryside with filled with all sorts of roving bandits and revolutionaries (read Josephus for all the background). People who fit the general profile of Jesus were literally dime-a-dozen at that time, and public executions of these sorts of people was a pretty regular occurrence. The historians from that period and region were focused on the greater discourse of the time, namely the tenuous nature of the Roman vichy government that existed at the time, and the growing discontent and militancy of the Jews against oppressive Roman rule.

That being said, the Dead Sea Scrolls consist of material that is either older (the Torah) or more obscure than the mainstream events of the time, such as the documents related to the hermetical Essene sect of Jews (or some group similar to the Essenes).

In short, you're looking for historical evidence of Jesus' existence in a totally unrelated place. There isn't much direct evidence, really, except for his most immediate followers and the tradition that followed them. However, given what we do know about Jesus, one wouldn't expect historians from his time to mention him. Christianity, his teachings, and his death only became historically important much later on.

Re:Where's Jesus? (-1, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522274)

Christianity, his teachings, and his death only became historically important much later on.

No, they didn't.

Re:Where's Jesus? (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522294)

However, given what we do know about Jesus, one wouldn't expect historians from his time to mention him.

In general your argument is correct. However, if some populist prophet really had been leading several thousand followers around the countryside in First Century Judea, the Romans would have come down on them like a ton of bricks, and we'd probably be hearing about how 5000 people were crucified for sedition in 30 AD.

The Romans had no sense of humor about sedition in the first place. And Judea was one of the last places they would have tolerated it, since it was between Egypt (breadbasket of Rome, where even Senators were not allowed to visit because of the risk that they would start a revolt and cut off the food supply) and Syria (the only place where armies of the rival superpower of the era could cross into Roman territory).

FWIW, Jesus is mentioned in the text of Josephus AWKI, but it is thought to be a "pious interpolation", because it's so out of character with Josephus' views on everything else.

Re:Where's Jesus? (3, Informative)

Marble1972 (1518251) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522600)

Re Josepheus mentioning Christ: scholars generally agree that the text has been embellished by Christian copiests - however there's an 10th Centruy Arabic copy of Josespheus' text without the embellishments that scholars agree that would be consistent with what Josepheus would have written given that he hadn't converted to Christiantiy. And as there are no copies of Josephus that don't mentioned Christ (that I'm aware of) - the evidence is strong that Josepheus does mention Christ.

The Romans had no sense of humor about sedition in the first place

To go along with that - Jesus at the _start_ of his ministry mentioned 'he who wants to follow me - take up their cross'. Not metaphorically - literally! This was a clear warning for those who thought Jesus would be the all conquering Messiah that they were anticipating that they were going to be more than disappointed if they attempted to install him as King (of the Jews).

Re:Where's Jesus? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522172)

It wasn't mentioned by contemporaries because it was a minor religious/political issue of no significance in a region of no consequence at a time when crucifixion punishments were a dime a dozen. Historians didn't start mentioning it until decades later after the small group of original followers had managed to convince enough others to draw the attention of Rome. However, the Roman historians who wrote of Jesus did so in large enough numbers and from enough credible sources that the "Did Jesus Exist?" conspiracies died long ago among modern historians.

The problem is Christian pride wants to believe that the whole world stopped to watch Pilate judge Jesus on Fox News instead of the truth; which is that until his followers started causing commotion decades later no one gave a rat's butt about Jesus (and why anyone still does is beyond me).

Re:Where's Jesus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522220)

That is because the Dead Sea scrolls predate Jesus. Duh! What did you think the Dead Sea scrolls were, anyway? The New Testament? The reason they are so significant is because they confirm that the Jews faithfully transmitted the Old Testament by copying it, which was a major issue before they were discovered.

Re:Where's Jesus? (1, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522222)

It's also worth noting that, as you said, they were penned by JEWS who deny to this day that Jesus was/is the Messiah. Why would extremely devout Jews mention the most recent fake messiah while writing their most holy of texts? I know everyone wants to bash Christians because it's fashionable, but at least have a well thought out argument before you start.

Re:Where's Jesus? (2)

asher09 (1684758) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522226)

Sorry to say, but sincerely, you've shown your ignorance regarding the significance of the Dead Sea scrolls in the context of Christianity. Very briefly (somewhat watered-down version), the DSS are important to Christianity primarily because of the manuscripts of books like Isaiah, which contain detailed prophecies about Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. The criticism against the Bible used to be that books like Isaiah contained way too much details about Jesus' death especially that the critics used to say "Isaiah must have been written/altered after Jesus of Nazareth came about because Isaiah couldn't have predicted all these details!". However, the dating of the DSS prove that the book of Isaiah was written at least before BC100 and had not been altered since.

Therefore it's impossible that anyone has altered the prophecies about Jesus after the fact. Also because the bulk of the DSS were written before Jesus' time, there is NO New Testament writing in the DSS collection. So no Christian scholar is looking for NT books like you're implying.

Re:Where's Jesus? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522232)

Jesus wasn't born until 70+ years AFTER these scrolls were written, so of course you wont find any references to Jesus in these texts.

Re:Where's Jesus? (1)

asher09 (1684758) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522290)

Bingo! I wish I had mod points for this most informative post in the thread!

Re:Where's Jesus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522540)

I don't see too much written about Abraham or Moses during their (if they existed) lifetimes either.

Is this significant? (4, Interesting)

Okian Warrior (537106) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522558)

There was no physical evidence for Pontius Pilate for almost 2000 years, leading many biblical scholars to argue that he was a mythical character.

This changed in 1961, when the pilate stone was discovered.

(And Pontius Pilate was way more famous than Jesus in his time.)

Physical evidence for Buddha was not found until 1895.

I'm not sure what your point is. Are you saying that there is a probability of Jesus being a fictional character? That's fine, it's a fair point. There's a non-zero probability that Jesus was a fictional character.

But it's not the important part...

That's how Wall Street made a killing, (1)

jclaer (306442) | more than 3 years ago | (#37521966)

by keeping a lot of information secret. Transparency is more powerful than regulation.

Legal delays (5, Funny)

oldfogie (547102) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522044)

They had to wait for the copyrights to expire...

They are available here... (5, Informative)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522100)

From what I could see, that article only had links to other articles that didn't have links to the actual museum website. Its a pretty weak website but still would hav ebeen nice to have a link somewhere.
http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/ [imj.org.il]

Re:They are available here... (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522602)

The link you give happens to be the very first link in the summary. Followed indeed by two links to articles, but the link to the actual scrolls is there already.

Font? (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522216)

I don't know what font they used to print those scrolls, but it's so distorted it doesn't even look like English.

LOLing at the "English" translation (4, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522224)

In the day of thy planting thou didst make it to grow, and in the morning didst make thy seed to blossom.

Thou just can't giveth up thy esoterica, canst thou?

Let's try again, shall we? In actual English this time, not Ye Olde Worlde Beardspeake.

"You made the seed grow on the day it was planted, and the next morning made it blossom".

Harder to build a cult around prose, isn't it?

In Other News (3, Funny)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522236)

In other news, Bethesda sues the Jews for use of the word Scrolls in the Dead Sea Scrolls, while the Jews cite prior art and challenge Bethesda to a match of Quake 3 to determine who gets to use the term.

50 years (5, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522240)

The scrolls were first found in the 1940s, so it's 60+ years.

The primary cause of the delay (as I understand it) is that there is a universal presumption among scholars that whoever is working on it has the right of first publication, and they generally work on it 'till it's done.

However, these scrolls could be considered are world treasure, and the scholars who worked on them weren't the people who actually found them, so it doesn't seem to me to be the same circumstances as (say) waiting for whoever dug up some bones to announce a new hominid species.

And 60+ years seems excessive under any circumstances. Scholars have been born, educated, had their careers, and died while waiting for this stuff to come out.

FWIW...

Back maybe 20 years ago the Biblical Archeology Review (big critics of the delay) published the text of some of the material, which they obtained by reverse engineering a concordance that had been published by the team working on the scrolls.

There's an old photo (which I happened to see in a BAR article) of one of the priests who was working on the scrolls, sitting in front of a pile of small papyrus scraps, holding a lit cigarette in his hand. Makes you wonder how much of the material ended up in the ash bin before it got analyzed.

Re: 50 years (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522574)

What's worse is that the local people who first found the scrolls and did not know their value were _burning_ them because they smelled good. The value of the scrolls was only discovered after a student? bought one off of the street and recognized the age of the script.

Is this the same as ... (1)

Sryn (976155) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522256)

being the only authorized spiritual representative?

Finance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37522292)

Finance is one of the main industries known for hoarding information because of its immediate value for trading and analysis. I would suspect the financial industry companies are much more innovative than Google when you consider the analysis and practical applications required to stay afloat. So, yes, Google cares about advertising, but they don't seem to have a successful hedge fund yet.

The Marula Fruit/Entheogen* (0)

wirelesslayers (2014486) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522384)

Primitive humans see animals getting drunk, primitive humans does the same.
Primitive humans is high and is seeing the gods of the forest and the nature, start to make up stories about those trips under subjective changes in perception, thought, emotion and consciousness caused psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants.

That is the base of all cults/religions, whatever.

Dead Sea Scrolls are cool, but no differ from the trips written by our ancestors.

John M. Allegro was an adviser on the dead sea scrolls to the jordanian government.
In his book "The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross: A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East", he points the primitive trips from the dead sea scrolls. He points that christ is a cover up story for the use of Amanita muscaria.

*Entheogen -> psychoactive substances used in a spiritual context.

How about closer? (5, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522480)

You don't have to go back to the flippin' Dead Sea Scrolls to see how people try to gain power through hoarding information.

Today I switched doctors.
I have a new Dr. appointment Thursday (relatively soon). Both the destination clinic, and the origin clinic state that it takes 5-7 days to transfer my medical records completely.

I've said that I'd be willing to physically go and pick up my records, and transport them. But I CANNOT.

Oh I can, for a FEE.
It will cost in copying charges around $50 if I want to pick up my records myself. It's done for free if it's being transferred to another clinic.

My records. About me. The accumulation of which were services for which I'm sure I or my insurance company already paid quite handsomely.

And yet this medical clinic clearly has emplaced a fee to discourage people from getting their OWN medical records.

No, it's not the Dead Sea Scrolls but it's power-through-information-hoarding.

Another example?
I was adopted. The agency that holds my adoptive records offers the 'de-identified' record for $50. Fine, it takes some labor to accumulate this. (Never mind that this might contain critical medical information needed by the adoptee.)
However, to advance that, and see if my birth mother is reachable, is $250.
Regardless of effort. If it's a matter of opening the file, finding her name, and calling the number - it's $250.

To me, that's information hoarding. I don't object to paying $50/hour or whatever for research services. I don't object to paying for the labor and legwork involving tracking down and contacting a person in what might be a very delicate situation. I have no issues there. But to have to pony up $250 for what might be 5 minutes' work for no result, from an agency which is the SOLE source of critical information?

The article is mostly a hyperbolic rant (5, Insightful)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522528)

and this quote says it all:

(This link goes to a good museum presentation of the Gutenberg, but don't bother unless you read Latin written in fancy script; the graphics in it contribute nothing.)

No modern has tried to suppress the Dead Sea Scrolls, as the summary might have one believe. Hell, many of these and like texts have been on Ph.D. comprehensive or qualifying exams for years (my own exam had the Nag Hammadi corpus on it which, far from being subject on modern day oppression, is available in multiple translations).

It is certainly true that for part of the past few decades, the scrolls have been in the hands of a few specialists. This is not for the purposes of power in some grand sense, however, but for the sake of publications for those who have control over them. The information wasn't being hoarded so much as disseminated slowly for the benefit of those scholars who work on them. On this note, I might be tempted to join in the rant of the article but that points to a deeper lack of open culture in higher education. Even so, the fact remains that they have been published.

Indeed, they have been subject of more than normal publication (see postscript). The gentleman who wrote this article complains, "why has it taken nearly 50 years for the contents of this material to be made fully public?" He fails to understand the simplest reason: the public doesn't really care enough. That is to say, some members of the public might care enough to read parts of a translation. A few might even now some languages from the period. But how many of the public are going to read it in the original in scanned versions rather than critical editions when even academics like myself only undertake paleography when we are trying to produce something for publication? I cannot therefore fathom a man who is daunted by a little Latin (see quote above) in type complaining that he cannot have the opportunity to practice his Aramaic paleography skills. Yet, in spite of the fact that the general public will not make much use of it, and the fellow who wrote this article certainly won't, Google and the Israel Museum have made high quality scans of them public. I, for one, and more inspired to speak of how great a thing this is; how much the internet has changed things (it takes decades in my field for a scholar to produce a critical edition of a text); and finally how the optimism and kindness (and probably interest in good publicity) of the people involved in this project have made this possible.

p.s.--I say "more than normal publication" because in most pre-modern fields it is extremely rare to find copies of relevant manuscripts online. The only hope typically is a) to use critical editions, b) to order microfilm, though many places will not provide this, or c) to go to the archives which, for an American, generally means thousands of dollars in travel costs. There have, however, been some efforts to make more manuscripts available online and they deserve some praise. The British Library [www.bl.uk] should have a special note in this regard. Quite a few others may be found here [home.kpn.nl] . Mr. Fogarty need not visit these sites however. The open access of many of them will spoil his fun and, besides, he shouldn't bother unless he can read Latin and Greek written in a fancy script.

Wasn't the Content already released? (2)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 3 years ago | (#37522716)

Not to knock Google and the Israeli Museum because the more information the better but wasn't the content (the text) already released some time ago? The scholars who were hoarding the Dead Sea Scrolls for the better part of a CENTURY had been releasing short fragments to the public from time to time a part of their work (gotta keep those research grants flowing). I heard someone wrote a program that took all these fragments together and, using the overlapping words, pieced together a "complete" version.

Sort of like shotgun gene sequencing where you blow apart the DNA with enzymes, sequence the short fragments and then use a computer to put it all together. Except this time the DNA is cultural (shotgun meme sequencing?).

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